In today’s remote work world, every important discussion happens over Zoom. So, it’s imperative to have a note-taking system in place—to capture knowledge, ideas, and action items discussed during Zoom calls. In fact, Zoom meeting notes have quickly become a place where we can preserve the insights from our meetings.
The good news is, it’s quite easier to take notes while you’re on a Zoom call if you have the right tool for the job. No need to switch between two monitors or rely on your memory dumps to remember the important information.
In this post, we’re going to show you how to take notes while on Zoom using Grain.
We’ll also see how a note taking pro efficiently captures information from Zoom calls with a simple system that you can replicate for your team.
First things first. What is Grain?
Grain is a tool that helps you record, transcribe, highlight and share important moments of your video meetings in a highlight reel. It is much more than a Zoom note taker. You can create highlight clips, stories, and build a (spoken) knowledge base for your team (visit our homepage for a quick demo). But for now, we’ll focus on how to use Grain as a ‘Zoom note taking app’.
Step 1: Create your Grain account and workspace for free. It takes a minute to set up and then you’re good to go.
Step 2: Download Grain desktop app. Ideally, you’d like to have a notepad to take notes during your Zoom calls. This is where Grain desktop comes in handy!
You can take notes using Grain web as well. But notepad is the more efficient and faster way to capture the moments and jot down your thoughts.
Step 3: When your next meeting starts, Grain Notepad will automatically appear, ready for you to quickly mark down the important moments as they happen, either by typing a note or using an emoji. Every note you take during the meeting becomes shareable—as a video clip.
Side note: For Grain Desktop App to appear during your meetings, you need to record the call using Grain.
Once the meeting’s over, Grain automatically uploads your recording with transcript and your notes to the workspace. So, your meeting notes are always a search away!
We’ve talked to Guillaume “G” Cabane to learn how one can build a note-taking system and make it easier for their team to understand and review the meeting notes.
Former VP of Growth for Segment and Drift, G now advises some of the world’s fastest-growing companies (G2, Abstract, Gorgias). His commute may have shortened but his workday has not. As someone who's hopping from one meeting to another, we connected with G to learn how to take notes during Zoom calls.
“I am in back-to-back Zoom video calls with seven clients,” says G.
With non-stop Zoom meetings, G doesn’t have time between meetings to organize all of the action items, interesting client remarks, and moments of concern.
"Listening to every Zoom recording myself is valuable, but painful"
G explains, “I charge a lot per hour, which means there are high expectations and one of the obvious expectations is ‘G is going to follow up and do the things he’s committed to.’ I commit to a lot of things. I say ‘yes i’ll do that’ or ‘oh, this is a good idea I should follow up on.’”
Initially, one of the solutions G explored involved his executive assistant reading Zoom call transcripts, taking notes of action items and such, and then creating a report. Yet that proved less than ideal.
“That was problematic because my EA’s time is consumed at the same rate as my time, which isn’t great for her—or for my finances,” says G. “And my EA doesn’t necessarily know the subtleties of what’s going on in my brain such as ‘this moment in the meeting is good to highlight for myself and this other part should be shared with the client.’”
G then tried listening to all of the calls himself.
“Listening to every Zoom recording myself is valuable, but it’s a painful process,” says G. “I'm going to listen to the call carefully. I'm going to pause the recording. Take notes. I'm going to pause. Take notes. It takes me like two to three times the length of the call to extract all the value and summarize. It’s a painful process. It's slow.”
"There’s no other platform that I know of that enables me to—in just a second while talking, right now—take a note and create value in a call with someone.”
In his search for a tool that allows him to “pinpoint key moments of interaction” during calls, G found Grain.
“The thing I love most about Grain is the ability to quickly take notes during a call. There’s no other platform that I know of that enables me to—in just a second while talking, right now—take a note and create value in a call with someone.”
One of Grain’s early adopters, G developed his own system for quickly taking note of a key moment of interaction in a call—while still remaining engaged with the client. G uses a system of emojis found in the Grain desktop app for noting different types of key moments.
We asked, and G graciously shared his list of preferred emojis and what they mean:
⭐️ - Important moment or statement
🔥 - Good reaction from the client or G
😔 - Something G is concerned about. (G probably won’t share this with the client.)
✅ - Something the client has committed to doing
🚧 - Something G has committed to
💡 - New idea
🛠 - New tool G would like to share with others
🧠 - Summary of the call for his team
By quickly clicking an emoji, or briefly writing a time-stamped note, G can remain focused on his clients during calls—while his team has a system for easily reviewing all of the key moments after a meeting.
“I’m reaching out because your CEO said this. We should talk.”
G rarely shares an entire call recording with a client. Instead, he uses Grain’s recording editing capabilities to create a brief video highlight for his client.
“One way I love to share highlights is when the client’s CEO says something important such as “We don’t really do that growth tactic at this company.” He then contacts a VP responsible for that kind of tactic and says “I’m reaching out because your CEO said this. We should talk.” Basically put, G uses Grain’s brief video highlight feature “as a way to move [his] agenda.”
“Grain is hard-coded into my daily system,” says G. “I use Grain in every one of my calls. There’s no way I’m removing Grain. Time-saving 100 percent. Complete empowerment. There’s no way I could manage that number of Zoom calls and different customers without Grain.”
For highlights of our entire interview with G, watch the video here.
If you don’t prefer to jot down ideas or bookmark important moments and decisions during your Zoom meetings, then you can focus on the conversation and get back to the transcript after the call. Grain records and transcribes the conversation from your meeting with its subtleties and nuances, helping you to recreate the experience.
You can go to your Grain workspace, open the recording and rewatch the meeting. Want to share the key decision with your team? Just clip and share the moment as video clips. Do you want to share a summary instead? Stitch together the meeting highlights into a video narrative using Grain Stories and then share it with anyone you desire. In addition, you can create custom workflows to move the information and action items from your meetings to other work tools.
Meeting notes can ensure you're getting the most value out of Zoom calls and with Grain, it's never been easier to capture your ideas and action items.
Try out our ready-made and tested Zapier templates using Grain. Click the “Use this Zap” to get started.